Mon, Jun 03, 2019 - Page 16 News List

China says US cannot use pressure to force trade deal

Reuters, BEIJING

The US cannot use pressure to force a trade deal on China, a senior Chinese official and trade negotiator said yesterday, refusing to be drawn on whether the leaders of the two countries would meet at the G20 summit to bash out an agreement.

Speaking at a news conference, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen (王受文) said that it was irresponsible of the US to accuse China of backtracking.

“If the US side wants to use extreme pressure, to escalate the trade friction, to force China to submit and make concessions, this is absolutely impossible,” said Wang, who has been part of China’s negotiating team.

Switching into English, he said: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

“During the consultations, China has overcome many difficulties and put forward pragmatic solutions. However, the US has backtracked, and when you give them an inch, they want a yard,” he said.

The US had made “unreasonably high” demands and insisted on adding “demands relating to China’s sovereign rights” to the countries’ agreement, Wang said.

The raising of tariffs escalated tensions and severely frustrated the talks, he added.

US President Donald Trump has said that he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of the month, although China has not confirmed the meeting.

When asked if Xi would meet Trump in Japan, Wang said: “I don’t have any information on this to provide.”

Wang, who was speaking at the unveiling of a new government policy paper on the trade dispute, said that US officials overestimate the trade deficit between the two countries and China should not be blamed for a decline in US manufacturing jobs.

The US goods and services deficit with China is closer to US$150 billion and not the US$410 billion quoted by US officials, he said, adding that China’s processing trade with the US should not be included in deficit calculations.

The white paper cited three instances of the US backtracking on its commitments, adding that Washington was responsible for setbacks in the talks.

It said that China had enough fiscal and monetary policy tools and “good momentum” to sustain economic development despite the trade dispute.

Wang also rejected assertions that Beijing is directing domestic companies on overseas acquisitions and investments.

“China’s government is not involved in the specific commercial behavior of companies, and won’t instruct or require companies to invest in a project or buy a technology,” he said.

Wang said China is willing to meet demand for rare earths from other countries, but that it would be unacceptable if some nations used Chinese rare earths to create products that limited China’s development.

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